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Can you work while on Social Security Disability?

There’s a misconception that if you claim Social Security Disability payments, you can’t work. That’s not entirely true. However, there are restrictions on the kinds of work you can do and the hours you can spend working. In cases where you’re getting better and getting to a point where you can work again, the Social Security Administration even has a program that can help you continue to receive payments while you start a new job.

Known as a Ticket to Work program, it lets you start out by testing your ability to work. You have up to nine months to start your job and work so that you can see if it’s something you can do with your disability. During the trial period, you still receive your full Social Security benefits no matter how much you’re earning at your job.

After the trial period, you can still get Social Security benefits during months when you don’t earn substantial amounts of money. In 2015, that amount is $1,090 or $1,820 for those with blindness. Therefore, if you can’t earn over those amounts, you could be entitled to your benefits.

Now, what happens if you decide you can’t work or your disability worsens? You have up to five years to ask for your Social Security Disability payments to be reinstated once your earnings fall below the threshold. That gives you some peace of mind in that you can work to the best of your ability, but if you can’t make enough, you can ask to start receiving the help you need again without a substantial wait.

Source: Social Security Administration, “Working While Disabled — How We Can Help,” accessed May. 05, 2015

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